Should A Company Select Proprietary, Open Source, Or Free Software For Its Most Important Business Information Systems

994 words - 4 pages

Should a company select proprietary, open source, or free software for its most important business information systems?
When someone looks at the question above the first words that jump out at you are “most important”, so when making a selection between the different types of software most people would probably believe proprietary software to be the obvious choice. You could look at the definitions of the three and easily decide that open source software would be more convincing than the others. However, I would have to agree with those that argue open source should be the first choice for any kind of software because it allows code modification to customize the software for your ...view middle of the document...

One of the most important questions when deciding on the type of software to use is also the simplest: Does the program do what you want it to do? The specific functions you need obviously depend on the kind of program and your specific needs. However, there are also some general functional issues that apply to all programs. In particular, you should consider how well it integrates and is it compatible with existing components you have. Does the software support any standards you have? If you exchange data with others using them, how well does it do so?
Then there is cost. Cost is an important issue for anyone. Strictly speaking, most open source/free software programs do not cost anything to get, or have a relatively low initial cost. However, "free" in "free software" is most likely based on "freedom" and not on price. Open source/free software programs still cost money to deploy in the real world. So, when considering costs, you should consider all costs related to deploying a program. This is typically done by determining the total cost of ownership over a fixed period of time, such as within a year. Many proprietary companies complain that customers only look at the initial price. However, they often have hidden costs, so this complaint applies to both proprietary and open source/free software programs. Make sure to include all costs in your calculations, not just the cost of buying initial licenses. Other costs may include expensive hardware (new or upgrades), support fees, and any software upgrade fees.
Next for consideration would be support. Training users on how to use the program, installing the program, and answering users who have specific problems trying to use the program. One major difference between open source/free software and proprietary programs is how support is handled. Open source/free software program users have several choices: (1) they can choose a commercial support model, where they pay someone to provide support,...

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